Today’s job search advice comes from Ashley Bihun, Supervising Producer at WGN Radio, to offer tips and suggestions for the Class of 2020. 

What tips do you have for students conducting a job search in the media right now?

Before you even start to apply for jobs, do research on the specific companies in your industry. Read reviews from previous employees and current employees, check out their newsletters if they have one, read about the history of the company and how it has evolved, and get a basic understanding of what the company stands for and what they do for the public. If you don’t particularly like a specific company, don’t waste your time trying to get a job there. Once you have a couple of companies you would like to work for, go to their career sites and start looking around to see if they are hiring or not. 

Then, when conducting the job search make sure you know what type of job you’re looking for. I know that’s hard to tell college students who may not really know what they want to do with their degrees yet, but don’t use generic terms such as media, journalism, or marketing. Be more specific. Do some more research into the media industry to see where you personally think you’ll thrive the best, then use keywords that fit that job description. The little extra work will be worth it in the long run because you’ll find a career path you’re better suited for in a company you like and therefore will have a better chance of getting the job. The interviewer can tell whether or not you’re excited for the job or if you’re just applying to get an internship “out of the way.”

How can students make themselves stand out to an employer?

Here are three MUST DOs in order to stand out to any employer: 

  1. Dress to fit the job you’re interviewing for. If you look good, you’ll feel good and therefore have more confidence when you go in for your interview. 
  2. When you get an interview of any kind (phone, video chat, in-person, etc.) it’s really important to ask questions. Come prepared with some to rattle off when they ask you if you have any questions. It’ll show that you’re interested to learn more about the position you’re interviewing for and the company.
  3. If you’re doing an in-person interview bring some thank you notes with you so that way when you’re finished you can write one up in the lobby of the building and leave it with the front desk to send up to your interviewer. If you’re doing a virtual or phone interview, send a thank you email to the employer right after the meeting. If you do these 3 things you’ll have a better chance at getting a follow-up interview than someone who didn’t come as prepared as you. 

What advice do you have for students whose job or internship offers have been rescinded?

If your job or internship has been rescinded, stay positive! It happens, and you’re definitely not alone. Just be understanding of the employer for doing what they did and remind them you’re very interested in working with their company and to keep you in mind for any openings they may have in the future. 

On a side note, if you get rejected from a job, my best advice for you is to reach out to the employer and simply ask “why.” Ask them if they can offer up any advice to strengthen your interviewing skills. You just might find out you’re overqualified for a job or possibly that there was something you did in your interview that you can easily fix for the next one. 

What advice do you have for students looking to enter the media industry?

It’s not all about what you know… it’s about who you know. It’s VERY important in this industry to make and maintain connections. I honestly can’t stress this enough. 

Check out our Career Library for resources on Networking 101. Here is also a great article from LinkedIn on tips about networking during a pandemic. If you need support as you navigate the job search process, come see us virtually